Skip to main content

Physical Therapy Improves The Quality of Life for People with Parkinson's Disease

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement, balance, speech, and cognition. According to the Parkinson's Foundation, about one million Americans live with PD, and more than 10 million people worldwide are diagnosed with it.

 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PD, however, physical therapy can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

 

How can Physical Therapy help?

 

 

Physical therapists are experts in movement and function. They use exercise, and hands on techniques to improve strength, coordination and range of motion. Physical therapists also use exercise and activities to challenge and improve the balance of people with Parkinson's Disease. In addition, they can also provide education, guidance, and support for people with PD and their caregivers.

 

How research has proven physical therapy to help

Physical therapy for people with Parkinson's Disease is heavily researched and has been shown to be an effective intervention. One meta-study (a study that combines the results of many other studies) that covered 1827 participants found that when compared to no intervention, PT significantly improved:

 

These results indicate improvements in mobility, endurance, strength, and balance. Gait speed is an especially important measurement. Physical therapists often consider gait speed a "vital sign." This is because low gait speed has been linked to:

 

A larger meta study that included 191 studies with 7998 participants found that PT significantly improved motor symptoms, gait, and quality of life. Specifically:

 

Summary

Physical therapy can be beneficial at any stage of PD, from the time of diagnosis to the advanced stages. It is a valuable treatment option for people with PD, as it can help to improve or maintain their physical function, mobility, and independence. Physical therapy can also enhance their quality of life, confidence, and well-being.

 

If you or someone you know has PD, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a physical therapist. You can also find a physical therapist near you by visiting the American Physical Therapy Association's website at www.apta.org. If you are in the Falls Church, Arlington, or surrounding area, call us up at Advantage Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment!

 

About The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association
Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the healthcare system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org.
Author
Alana Hamilton Alana Hamilton is a physical therapist at Advantage Physical Therapy in Falls Church, Virginia. She is a proud Hokie from Virginia Tech with a major in Biology and a minor in psychology and sociology. Following graduation, she immediately got her doctorate in Physical Therapy from Radford University. She is an avid fan of Pilates, running, and hiking. On the weekends, she can be found hanging out with her family and baby as well as doing Spartan races with her old physical therapy classmates and friends. She is a big believer that during rehabilitation, "Motion is the Lotion" and that staying active is key to remaining healthy.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Fuel for Recovery

You are what you eat! Physical therapy and nutrition are often seen as separate, but physical therapists know that they are deeply intertwined. To get the most out of PT, especially after an injury or surgery, successfully integrating both is crucial.

Don't Let the Cold Freeze Your Progress!

Have you noticed the change in weather, it's starting to get cold! Don't let the cold slow down your workouts. Here are some tips on how to keep progressing when the temperature starts to drop.

Moving Past Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive issues. It can be difficult to manage and can severely impact quality of life. There is no cure, but a combination of exercise, modalities and education can help manage symptoms.